Thai Chicken Balls
When Thai food became popular in Australia, Thai fish cakes were all the rage. Thai Chicken Balls uses chicken instead of fish, while deep-frying keeps it wonderfully moist. To reduce the fat content, they can also be baked.
Makes: 24 balls
Preparation time: 20 minutes + optional chilling time
Cooking time: 10 minutes
4 large coriander (cilantro) roots
3 red chillies, seeds removed
15 eschalots, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
155 g (5 oz) palm or brown sugar
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) fresh lime juice (4-5 limes)
2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/2 fl oz) sauce
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves, optional
1 stalk lemon grass, finely sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 cloves garlic
3cm (1 1/2in) knob ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
625g (1 1/4 lb) chicken breast, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons (100 ml) coconut cream
Grapeseed, peanut or rice bran oil, for deep frying
- Make nam jim first. Combine coriander, chilli, eschalots, garlic and sugar in a food processor, then blend in lime juice and fish sauce. Set aside. Stir through coriander leaves if using just before serving.
- Heat oil into a depth of 5cm (2in) in deep-sided saucepan over high heat.
- Finely chop lemon grass, lime leaves, garlic and ginger in food processor. Add curry paste and fish sauce and combine. Add chicken and sugar; process until fine, scraping down sides of the bowl at least once. With motor running, add coconut cream and combine well.
- As this mixture is rather wet (if you rest in the refrigerator, it will become a little firmer), roll a teaspoon over and under mixture to form a quenelle shape (egg shape) and drop into hot oil. Cook in batches for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Alternatively, spoon mixture into small non-stick muffin tins, dot a little coconut cream on top and bake in a moderate oven, 180°-190°C (350°-375°F, Gas Mark 4) for 8 minutes.
- Serve immediately with nam jim.
Wine: The spicy yet light flavours here are best with a riesling, sauvignon blanc or gewurztraminer.
Recipe from Lyndey Milan, The Best Collection (New Holland 2009, 2013)